Houston Nutt has filed a defamation suit against his former employer, Ole Miss, alleging that head coach Hugh Freeze and other school officials created a “false narrative” to blame Nutt for its current NCAA investigation.
Nutt is seeking damages to cover lost wages, emotional distress, punitive damages, and attorney’s fees.
“As I understand, that’s a lawsuit involving an individual – and individuals can bring lawsuits against his former employer. I’ve not studied that suit, so it’s not appropriate for me to comment on substance,” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “I am disappointed that someone would use the visibility around Media Days to do that. That’s something, I guess, we’ve become accustomed to over time, but certainly individuals have their rights to pursue actions, and I know the university will represent itself well.”
Nutt, a three-time SEC Coach of the Year, coached Ole Miss from 2008-11. The university has been under NCAA investigation for nearly five years.
The SEC will advise, not investigate, Ole Miss.
“We established a policy as a league back in 2003 that establishes exactly what we do. We do not investigate our universities,” Sankey said. “There is this notion that somehow we have investigators or engage in investigations. We do not. We are advisors to every one of our institutions through this process about what to expect. The expectations, in fact, include being thorough and getting to the bottom of matters and conducting themselves with integrity – and we’ve seen that over time. Our institutions will have issues. I think we’ve made enormous progress on this compliance and infractions front.”